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Ambassador al-Jaafari: Statement of Riyadh 2 Totally Rejected


Geneva, SANA — Head of Syrian Arab Republic delegation to intra-Syrian dialogue in Geneva, Bashar al-Jaafari said on Friday that the statement of the Riyadh 2 is totally rejected and we will not engage into direct talks as long as this statement introduced.

In a press conference following a session of talks with the UN Special Envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, al-Jaafari added that the language used in the Riyadh 2 statement is preconditions and this contravenes the UN Security Council resolution No.2254.

“Therefore, we consider that the Riyadh 2 statement is totally rejected, especially since it does not take into account the political and military developments that took place since the days of the former envoy Lakhdar Brahimi. So we say that it is a return back and a desperate attempt from those who participated in the Riyadh meeting to bring us back to square zero to the days of Brahimi which means a serious attempt to undermine the mission of Special Envoy de Mistura,” al-Jaafari pointed out.

He went on to say that “during this tour, there was a serious focus by us and by the Special Envoy on the basic principles paper for the political solution, which is called the 12 principles paper. We presented this paper in March, and we asked the Special Envoy to bring it up to the other sides and to tell us their reactions on this paper as we called for adopting  this paper to be the basis for discussion.”

Al-Jaafari added that since March and till now several rounds of Geneva took place and in each round of them, Syrian Arab Republic delegation was asking the Special Envoy about the basic principles paper and the answer was “I keep it in my pocket, alive.”

He pointed out that “we insist on the basic principles paper because it is the entrance to building national trust, which is the basic approach that facilitates finding solutions to the coming issues and simply this paper aims to build common denominators of national character and constitute a test of the intentions of all.”

“We noted with regret that the Special Envoy has exceeded his mandate by bringing up his own paper on the delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic and he asked to adopt it to be a basis for the discussion which is procedural exceeding to his mandate as a mediator and we do not negotiate with the mediator,” al-Jaafari asserted, adding that “we have a strong procedural position based on the rules of  work in the United Nations, especially since we have submitted our paper last March, nine months ago and it is still in the pocket of de Mistura.

Responding to journalists’ questions, al-Jaafari said that he reminded de Mistura that the delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic has presented the basic principles paper that was submitted previously to former envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, adding that if that paper had been taken into consideration, we would have saved a lot of effort.

On de Mistura’s announcement to extend the talks until December 15, al-Jaafari said that “for us as a government delegation, the round of talks has ended and we will leave Geneva tomorrow. As for de Mistura, he announces what he wants and we officially informed him that we will leave tomorrow for Damascus and he invited us last night to a new round in Geneva.”

He affirmed that those who drafted the language of the Riyadh 2 statement were seeking to undermine the mission of the Special Envoy.

About the possibility of the delegation returning to Geneva next Tuesday, al-Jaafari said that “it is Damascus that will decide that.”

“The Geneva process is not in a vicious circle, as we have already met several times and we have done a lot of papers and agreed on an agenda called the four baskets, and we have achieved a lot in Geneva and Astana, including the de-escalation zones which are a result of the Astana process, but Sochi Conference is another opportunity to make further progress and we must not give the wrong message that there is a failure in these tracks,” he said.

He pointed out that the language of Riyadh 2 statement will be considered by the Syrian government and a number of states as a step backward because it contains preconditions, and according to the Special Envoy no one should pose preconditions, adding that the statement is provocative and politically irresponsible and does not suit the aspirations of the Syrian people regarding these talks, and as long as the other party complies with the Riyadh 2 statement, there will be no progress.

Al-Jaafari pointed out that there are daily military victories against terrorism and Syria is close to achieving total victory over Daesh (ISIS) terrorist organization, stressing that the Syrian government is ready to go to any place that may help in achieving progress that fulfills the aspirations of the Syrian people nationally, noting that “we practice high-level national policies to protect our people and our land, and we are not in a political game.”

On the proposals of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress to be held in Sochi, al-Jaafari said that this topic was discussed with de Mistura, but the discussion was tangential and not a main part of the talks at Geneva.

On Syria’s position on the so-called “local councils” elections in the north of the country, al-Jaafari said that there is no such thing as Kurdish areas in the north of Syria; there are only Syrian areas and Syrian Kurdish component, stressing that any unilateral action taken without coordination with the Syrian government is absolutely unacceptable, adding that Syria has a local state administration that has been in the constitution since 1973, and there are the People’s Assembly and other state institutions where everything can be put forward, but the last reference point is the Syrian state.

Later, al-Jaafari told al-Mayadeen TV channel that the “Riyadh 2” statement was drafted by their operators, and that the Saudi authorities wanted to undermine the political solution and sought to impose its agenda.

He said that de Mistura should have stepped in and told those who drafted the statement that they’re endangering the Geneva round, so he is partly responsible for this mistake, but the Saudi policy is what led to this position as the Saudis don’t want the political solution to succeed.

As for the de-escalation zones agreement, al-Jaafari said that the problems in this regard are caused by Israel, Jordan, the US, and Turkey that circumvented what was agreed upon in Astana regarding Idleb and sent military forces, tanks, artillery, and troops in violation with the agreement with the Russian and Iranian guarantors.

Manar/Ghossoun / Hazem Sabbagh

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